By David L. Butler, Honest Abe Log Homes customer and owner and partner with Kelly Caldwell of Holmes Bend Marina and Resort and Holmes Bend Rentals
We have been in the marina business here for many years. As part of our business we also have 12 log cabins and newly completed log studio lodging for smaller groups. These cabins are nestled in the woods overlooking the beach, playground, lake and marina, just a short walk across the parking lots.
Choosing a Location
In 2017 with the good fortune of a growing business we decided that a lodge-type facility would complement our current operation. We also had the good fortune of a location in the woods opposite the existing cabins and entrance roadway with a fantastic view of the lake and marina, while still offering the serenity of the woods with a meandering stream and horseback riding trail just to the right of the proposed lodge site, with plenty of deer, turkey and small wildlife within sight. The site is still within easy walking distance of the marina with ample parking for vehicles, boats, trucks, RVs, etc. The launching ramp is just down the road between the marina and beach.
After the location was confirmed and the logistics for site preparation utilities, electric, water, sewer, technical amenities, etc., were completed, it was time to research options for the actual physical aspects of the lodge. There are many things to consider when building any structure whether it be bricks and mortar, stone, stick building, metal or whatever. When a facility we chose included a portion of all these plus the primary framework of logs, it became a learning experience.
We already had a preliminary knowledge of log structure from the cabins, but they were individual standalone structures. The lodge we envisioned would be a continuous two-story structure with a full walkout basement. This building would have to fit the contours of the site while still offering the views of all angles of the surroundings.
After our preliminary plans were decided on, it was time to research an organization or company that could fulfill our needs. We researched several log home builders and suppliers and eventually set up a meeting with Honest Abe Log Homes in Moss, Tennessee, which is about an hour drive from our location in Kentucky.
Selecting a Log Home Company
Our initial visit was very impressive. Honest Abe’s National Headquarters is located within their sprawling complex of mill and manufacturing buildings, which was of importance, because we were offered a tour that gave a visual concept from the raw material, primarily pine trees to the finished products, logs of every size and design, plus all the amenities that would be needed to complete our project our project, or you could pick and choose from many different packages. The headquarters and office complex is a beautiful log beautiful log building that offers a variety of log types, fireplaces, stone, staircases and individual rooms that show you the many varied configurations and designs that can be applied to your individual needs.
Probably the most important, at least to me, and should have been as an introductory at the beginning of this narrative, was being introduced to Inez Price, the sales representative and dealer for this project. Inez was indispensable throughout this entire project and still is today. Her professionalism and knowledge, plus her willingness to go the extra mile, made this entire project work smoothly.
All the questions, concerns, phone calls at all hours, exchanges, labor and materials, delivery date, etc., that go with a major project were addressed in a timely and courteous manner. After we gave Inez a rough concept of our drawings for the building size, layout, etc., she gave them to their in-house architectural and design team. After several phone consultations and preliminary drawings were presented to us for our review, a final design, material lists and cost estimates were submitted to us in a very timely manner. These consisted of several detailed copies of the building plans with drawings of what the completed project would look like both from the outside and interior rooms.
Designing the Building
Each floor, not counting the basement, would consist of three condo like suites consisting of two 29′ deep by 12′ wide rooms containing kitchen, living room, bedroom with queen beds, a bath and a closet. Each suite would have adjoining inside doors so you could essentially use 1-2 or all 3 suites consecutively or individually.
Eight-feet-wide, full-length porches on both floors with both front and rear doors access stairs in both front and rear. A single door on rear opens into kitchen and living room and a double door that opens onto porch that faces the lake and overlooks a covered gazebo that offers tables, grills and firepits. This gazebo has been extensively used as an entertainment venue for cookouts, weddings and concerts. The porches run the entire length of each floor and are protected by wooden handrails.
The ground floor porch has a colored stamped designed concrete floor that adds to the ambience of the logs and rails. Each porch is furnished with wooden rockers and/or swings. The interiors of each suite has oak flooring and travertine stone where appropriate. The stone, bath and shower design, cathedral ceiling on the top floor was finished by local craftsman and artisans. All interior furnishings are modern and have all technical amenities that are available in the area.
The basement was designed primarily as a meeting and conference center. It has a full-size kitchen with a large standalone counter space for food preparation or a buffet serving. The open space is capable of seating 100 people with folding tables, chairs, etc. Also available are screen monitors, TV, audio capabilities for corporate or business meetings, bathrooms, etc. The rear of the basement is designed with a laundry used for the facility, marina and cabins and also available for guests, plus a large storage room for facility needs.
Constructing the Log Structure
The next and essential part of any building is the actual material, foundation and structural part. After the design aspects were completed and the site was prepared a 44’ x 72’ space was excavated by a local contractor, footers were dug and poured, plumbing, electrical and sewage and other technical/wiring, plumbing etc., were roughed in, then the walls and basement were poured. During this time Honest Abe Homes were working on the actual fabrication of the logs.
We settled on 8’ by 8’ D-logs for the primary structure with a dove tail locking feature at each outside end log. The logs have a tongue-and-groove type line along the top and bottom of each log, similar to tongue and groove flooring. In each groove is laced a foam type sealer that when placed between the logs and locked into the dove tail ends, makes for an airtight, locked in connection superior to the old pioneer type log homes, many of which are still standing today. Each log was specifically sized to fit around windows, door openings, corners and any other openings. The ceiling, rafters, joists, window, door frames, and cathedral ceilings are all wood and were sized to fit as was the tall porch posts that go from ground to top.
Honest Abe craftsmen trucked all material to the site, used their equipment and expertise to frame the entire building in a very timely and professional manner, while patiently answering all my questions and concerns.
Ready for Customers
After the building was completed and a new red metal roof and gutters were installed by local contractors, the utilities, water, electrical, sewers, etc., were completed, the interior was painted, new furniture and appliances were installed, landscaping was completed and presto! We were ready for business.
As with any project of this size and complexity there were some drawbacks and delays, but they were minor and remedied in a very cordial and professional way. The staff at Honest Abe were above exceptional, the workmanship and materials were above the normal standard for the area. We were exceptionally pleased and would recommend Inez Price and her organization highly.
Holmes Bend Marina and Resort and Holmes Bend Rentals are located on beautiful Green River Lake in Adair County, Kentucky, at 5380 Holmes Bend Road in Columbia, Kentucky 42728.
Click the image below to advance a slide show of lodging and conference facilities.